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NEWS STORIES

Human Trafficking Happening Everywhere, Even the NorthwoodsSubmitted: 11/27/2012
Story By Lyndsey Stemm

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RHINELANDER - Human Trafficking: not a problem you'd ever imagine having in the Northwoods.

But one local group is saying it is here; people just don't know how to identify it.

"The injustice, the outrage of human trafficking must be called by its true name: modern slavery," said President Obama in an address on trafficking.

Slavery fueled by crimes against Americans. Eighty percent of trafficking victims in the U.S. are U.S. citizens. Eighty two percent of those victims are from sex trafficking. The first step in fighting it is to tackle misconceptions.

"The most common misconception is that trafficking means that it's only a crime if there's some type of international transportation. What we're really talking about is a crime of either forced labor or forced sex trafficking," says John Vaudreuil, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin.

One of the biggest problems is people see those victims as common prostitutes, in the profession willingly.

"What we're talking about is really peonage; involuntary, compelled, in this case, sex trafficking," says Vaudreuil.

The biggest challenge for prosecutors is they don't get self-reporting victims.

"They're terrified of the police, they're terrified of the person who's controlling them. So the challenge for us is to see people as victims when they are not going to report themselves as victims," says Vaudreuil.

"It's very important, I felt, to bring the information to not only law enforcement but to all of the systems that could potentially work with victims to recognize the red flags," says Shellie Holmes, Executive Director of the Tri-County Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

Once Holmes recognized those red flags she was stunned to realize it has already been right in front of them.

"I realized that in the last three years we have had three trafficked women in our shelter. We just didn't know how to identify it," says Holmes.

A problem the council hopes education will solve. For now, they want the community to keep its eyes open and keep in mind things may not always be what they seem.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
ACT Exam mandatory for Wisconsin students this yearSubmitted: 08/20/2014

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EAGLE RIVER - College bound high school students in the Midwest need to take the ACT.

One Northwoods high school has seen an increase in how many students are taking the test.

About 60% of students at Northland Pines High School took the ACT last year, compared to about 53% that took it in 2010.

"We're increasing that number every year, doing our best to do that and encourage students to take this test," says Northland Pines High School Principal Jim Brewer. "It's not only just for students that are going to college, it's for anybody to take this assessment and see where they're at."

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Wisconsin water supplies deal with two contaminants during 2013Submitted: 08/20/2014

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WISCONSIN - Wisconsin keeps high standards for clean drinking water. On a yearly basis, they do a good job at meeting that standard, but during 2013, more water supplies were found with one of two contaminants.

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Concussion Awareness for High School SportsSubmitted: 08/20/2014

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RHINELANDER - Football season kicks off this Friday for many high schools across the state.

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When sport seasons begin, so does important concussion testing. Rhinelander has two tests.

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Wisconsin retains number 2 spot on ACT test Submitted: 08/20/2014

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Local expert offers tips on keeping shrubs and trees healthySubmitted: 08/20/2014

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Many people were forced to buy new trees and shrubs because they didn't survive the winter. Experts at Hanson's Gardening Village told us about a few trees that are most vulnerable to the winter.

"We had some in our own nursery here that we had to dispose of this spring," said Hanson's Garden Village Co-owner Brent Hanson. "A lot of people saw this effect where you get the leafing out like you would normally expect in the spring and then all of the sudden, all the little leaves turn brown the tree seems to be dead. In the worst case scenario, the tree is dead and it seems to me from what I've seen is that maples were most affected and unfortunately, fruit trees."

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